Special Issue "Understanding Neuromuscular Health and Disease: Advances in Genetics, Omics, and Molecular Function"

A special issue of Journal of Personalized Medicine (ISSN 2075-4426). This special issue belongs to the section "Omics/Informatics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. William Duddy
Website
Guest Editor
Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, School of Biomedical Sciences, Ulster University, UK
Interests: Stratified Medicine; Neuromuscular Disease; Systems Biology; Integrative Bioinformatics
Dr. Stephanie Duguez
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, School of Biomedical Sciences, Ulster University, UK
Interests: ALS; Exosome; Dystrophin; Muscle Stem Cell; Ageing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Special Issue “Understanding Neuromuscular Health and Disease: Advances in Genetics, Omics, and Molecular Function” will focus on recent advances in the molecular and cellular understanding of neuromuscular biology, and the treatment of neuromuscular disease. These advances are at the forefront of modern molecular methodologies, often integrating across wet-lab cell and tissue models, dry-lab computational approaches, and clinical studies. The continuing development and application of multiomics methods offer particular challenges and opportunities in the field, not least in the potential for personalized medicine.

We invite researchers in the field to submit original research and review articles on neuromuscular health and disease, including (but not limited to) studies on molecular and cellular mechanisms, molecular functional studies, personalized and precision medicine, genomics and genetic understanding, functional genomics and the application of omics technologies, secretomes and vesicular pathways, system biology, bioinformatics and integrative computational approaches, biomarker discovery and validation, and neuromuscular/musculoskeletal disease models. In addition, studies involving therapeutic approaches, such as antisense mutation-based, or gene and molecular therapy will be considered.

Dr. William Duddy
Dr. Stephanie Duguez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Personalized Medicine is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Neuromuscular/musculoskeletal health and disease
  • Functional genomics
  • Gene therapy
  • Molecular biology
  • Omics
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy
  • Motor neurone disease (MND)/Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Biomarkers

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Serum Pharmacodynamic Biomarkers in Prednisone-Versus Deflazacort-Treated Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Boys
J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10(4), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040164 - 12 Oct 2020
Abstract
Prednisone (Pred) and Deflazacort (Dfz) are commonly used glucocorticoids (GCs) for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) treatment and management. While GCs are known to delay the loss of ambulation and motor abilities, chronic use can result in onerous side effects, e.g., weight gain, growth [...] Read more.
Prednisone (Pred) and Deflazacort (Dfz) are commonly used glucocorticoids (GCs) for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) treatment and management. While GCs are known to delay the loss of ambulation and motor abilities, chronic use can result in onerous side effects, e.g., weight gain, growth stunting, loss of bone density, etc. Here, we use the CINRG Duchenne natural history study to gain insight into comparative safety of Pred versus Dfz treatment through GC-responsive pharmacodynamic (PD) biomarkers. Longitudinal trajectories of SOMAscan® protein data obtained on serum of DMD boys aged 4 to 10 (Pred: n = 7; Dfz: n = 8) were analyzed after accounting for age and time on treatment. Out of the pre-specified biomarkers, seventeen candidate proteins were differentially altered between the two drugs (p < 0.05). These include IGFBP-2 and AGER associated with diabetes complications, and MMP-3 associated with extracellular remodeling. As a follow-up, IGFBP-2, MMP-3, and IGF-I were quantified with an ELISA using a larger sample size of DMD biosamples (Dfz: n = 17, Pred: n = 12; up to 76 sera samples) over a longer treatment duration. MMP-3 and IGFBP-2 validated the SOMAscan® signal, however, IGF-I did not. This study identified GC-responsive biomarkers, some associated with safety, that highlight differential PD response between Dfz and Pred. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Clinical and Laboratory Associations with Methotrexate Metabolism Gene Polymorphisms in Rheumatoid Arthritis
J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10(4), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040149 - 26 Sep 2020
Abstract
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease that causes loss of joint function and significantly reduces quality of life. Plasma metabolite concentrations of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can influence treatment efficacy and toxicity. This study explored the relationship between DMARD-metabolising gene [...] Read more.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease that causes loss of joint function and significantly reduces quality of life. Plasma metabolite concentrations of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can influence treatment efficacy and toxicity. This study explored the relationship between DMARD-metabolising gene variants and plasma metabolite levels in RA patients. DMARD metabolite concentrations were determined by tandem mass-spectrometry in plasma samples from 100 RA patients with actively flaring disease collected at two intervals. Taqman probes were used to discriminate single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes in cohort genomic DNA: rs246240 (ABCC1), rs1476413 (MTHFR), rs2231142 (ABCG2), rs3740065 (ABCC2), rs4149081 (SLCO1B1), rs4846051 (MTHFR), rs10280623 (ABCB1), rs16853826 (ATIC), rs17421511 (MTHFR) and rs717620 (ABCC2). Mean plasma concentrations of methotrexate (MTX) and MTX-7-OH metabolites were higher (p < 0.05) at baseline in rs4149081 GA genotype patients. Patients with rs1476413 SNP TT or CT alleles have significantly higher (p < 0.001) plasma poly-glutamate metabolites at both study time points and correspondingly elevated disease activity scores. Patients with the rs17421511 SNP AA allele reported significantly lower pain scores (p < 0.05) at both study intervals. Genotyping strategies could help prioritise treatments to RA patients most likely to gain clinical benefit whilst minimizing toxicity. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Modelling Neuromuscular Diseases in the Age of Precision Medicine
J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10(4), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040178 - 17 Oct 2020
Abstract
Advances in knowledge resulting from the sequencing of the human genome, coupled with technological developments and a deeper understanding of disease mechanisms of pathogenesis are paving the way for a growing role of precision medicine in the treatment of a number of human [...] Read more.
Advances in knowledge resulting from the sequencing of the human genome, coupled with technological developments and a deeper understanding of disease mechanisms of pathogenesis are paving the way for a growing role of precision medicine in the treatment of a number of human conditions. The goal of precision medicine is to identify and deliver effective therapeutic approaches based on patients’ genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. With the exception of cancer, neurological diseases provide the most promising opportunity to achieve treatment personalisation, mainly because of accelerated progress in gene discovery, deep clinical phenotyping, and biomarker availability. Developing reproducible, predictable and reliable disease models will be key to the rapid delivery of the anticipated benefits of precision medicine. Here we summarize the current state of the art of preclinical models for neuromuscular diseases, with particular focus on their use and limitations to predict safety and efficacy treatment outcomes in clinical trials. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperEditor’s ChoiceReview
Advances in Genetic Characterization and Genotype–Phenotype Correlation of Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy in the Personalized Medicine Era
J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10(3), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030111 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Currently, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and the related condition Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) can be usually diagnosed using physical examination and genetic testing. While BMD features partially functional dystrophin protein due to in-frame mutations, DMD largely features no dystrophin production because of out-of-frame [...] Read more.
Currently, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and the related condition Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) can be usually diagnosed using physical examination and genetic testing. While BMD features partially functional dystrophin protein due to in-frame mutations, DMD largely features no dystrophin production because of out-of-frame mutations. However, BMD can feature a range of phenotypes from mild to borderline DMD, indicating a complex genotype–phenotype relationship. Despite two mutational hot spots in dystrophin, mutations can arise across the gene. The use of multiplex ligation amplification (MLPA) can easily assess the copy number of all exons, while next-generation sequencing (NGS) can uncover novel or confirm hard-to-detect mutations. Exon-skipping therapy, which targets specific regions of the dystrophin gene based on a patient’s mutation, is an especially prominent example of personalized medicine for DMD. To maximize the benefit of exon-skipping therapies, accurate genetic diagnosis and characterization including genotype–phenotype correlation studies are becoming increasingly important. In this article, we present the recent progress in the collection of mutational data and optimization of exon-skipping therapy for DMD/BMD. Full article
Open AccessReview
Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms Affected in ALS
J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10(3), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030101 - 25 Aug 2020
Abstract
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a terminal late-onset condition characterized by the loss of upper and lower motor neurons. Mutations in more than 30 genes are associated to the disease, but these explain only ~20% of cases. The molecular functions of these genes [...] Read more.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a terminal late-onset condition characterized by the loss of upper and lower motor neurons. Mutations in more than 30 genes are associated to the disease, but these explain only ~20% of cases. The molecular functions of these genes implicate a wide range of cellular processes in ALS pathology, a cohesive understanding of which may provide clues to common molecular mechanisms across both familial (inherited) and sporadic cases and could be key to the development of effective therapeutic approaches. Here, the different pathways that have been investigated in ALS are summarized, discussing in detail: mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, axonal transport dysregulation, glutamate excitotoxicity, endosomal and vesicular transport impairment, impaired protein homeostasis, and aberrant RNA metabolism. This review considers the mechanistic roles of ALS-associated genes in pathology, viewed through the prism of shared molecular pathways. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessReview
The Identification of Novel Biomarkers Is Required to Improve Adult SMA Patient Stratification, Diagnosis and Treatment
J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10(3), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030075 - 29 Jul 2020
Abstract
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is currently classified into five different subtypes, from the most severe (type 0) to the mildest (type 4) depending on age at onset, best motor function achieved, and copy number of the SMN2 gene. The two recent approved treatments [...] Read more.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is currently classified into five different subtypes, from the most severe (type 0) to the mildest (type 4) depending on age at onset, best motor function achieved, and copy number of the SMN2 gene. The two recent approved treatments for SMA patients revolutionized their life quality and perspectives. However, upon treatment with Nusinersen, the most widely administered therapy up to date, a high degree of variability in therapeutic response was observed in adult SMA patients. These data, together with the lack of natural history information and the wide spectrum of disease phenotypes, suggest that further efforts are needed to develop precision medicine approaches for all SMA patients. Here, we compile the current methods for functional evaluation of adult SMA patients treated with Nusinersen. We also present an overview of the known molecular changes underpinning disease heterogeneity. We finally highlight the need for novel techniques, i.e., -omics approaches, to capture phenotypic differences and to understand the biological signature in order to revise the disease classification and device personalized treatments. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
DUX4 Expression in FSHD Muscles: Focus on Its mRNA Regulation
J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030073 - 28 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) is the most frequent muscular disease in adults. FSHD is characterized by a weakness and atrophy of a specific set of muscles located in the face, the shoulder, and the upper arms. FSHD patients may present different genetic defects, but [...] Read more.
Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) is the most frequent muscular disease in adults. FSHD is characterized by a weakness and atrophy of a specific set of muscles located in the face, the shoulder, and the upper arms. FSHD patients may present different genetic defects, but they all present epigenetic alterations of the D4Z4 array located on the subtelomeric part of chromosome 4, leading to chromatin relaxation and, ultimately, to the aberrant expression of one gene called DUX4. Once expressed, DUX4 triggers a cascade of deleterious events, eventually leading to muscle dysfunction and cell death. Here, we review studies on DUX4 expression in skeletal muscle to determine the genetic/epigenetic factors and regulatory proteins governing DUX4 expression, with particular attention to the different transcripts and their very low expression in muscle. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
A Systematic Review of Genotype–Phenotype Correlation across Cohorts Having Causal Mutations of Different Genes in ALS
J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030058 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease characterised by progressive deterioration of upper and lower motor neurons that eventually culminates in severe muscle atrophy, respiratory failure and death. There is a concerning lack of understanding regarding the mechanisms that lead [...] Read more.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease characterised by progressive deterioration of upper and lower motor neurons that eventually culminates in severe muscle atrophy, respiratory failure and death. There is a concerning lack of understanding regarding the mechanisms that lead to the onset of ALS and as a result there are no reliable biomarkers that aid in the early detection of the disease nor is there an effective treatment. This review first considers the clinical phenotypes associated with ALS, and discusses the broad categorisation of ALS and ALS-mimic diseases into upper and lower motor neuron diseases, before focusing on the genetic aetiology of ALS and considering the potential relationship of mutations of different genes to variations in phenotype. For this purpose, a systematic review is conducted collating data from 107 original published clinical studies on monogenic forms of the disease, surveying the age and site of onset, disease duration and motor neuron involvement. The collected data highlight the complexity of the disease’s genotype–phenotype relationship, and thus the need for a nuanced approach to the development of clinical assays and therapeutics. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessReview
An Omics View of Emery–Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy
J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10020050 - 15 Jun 2020
Abstract
Recent progress in Omics technologies has started to empower personalized healthcare development at a thorough biomolecular level. Omics have subsidized medical breakthroughs that have started to enter clinical proceedings. The use of this scientific know-how has surfaced as a way to provide a [...] Read more.
Recent progress in Omics technologies has started to empower personalized healthcare development at a thorough biomolecular level. Omics have subsidized medical breakthroughs that have started to enter clinical proceedings. The use of this scientific know-how has surfaced as a way to provide a more far-reaching view of the biological mechanisms behind diseases. This review will focus on the discoveries made using Omics and the utility of these approaches for Emery–Dreifuss muscular dystrophy. Full article
Back to TopTop